Johnny Depp here makes for a rather poor paradigm of the counter-cancellation culture paladin.
People around here tend to forget that in his ill-fated London case last year Depp was not the accused, but rather the accuser, making use of the UK's strict libel laws (much beloved of Russian oligarchs and Middle-Eastern potentates) in a seriously misjudged bid to cancel press freedom.
He there deployed many of the tactics that manifest on the page where I found that image: a trail of positive character-witnesses for himself, something more akin to black ops when it came to the personality of his ex.
But, let's face it, the bunny boiler defence is not inherently imprudent.
I myself have had to defend myself from malicious, vindictive and demonstrably false denuncias made against me by a Guatemalan woman. Given that these were also mostly delusional, I could certainly intuit the basic appeal.
Yet to be credible, this form of defence has to be grounded in solid evidence rather than imprecise, misogynistic innuendo.
Nevertheless, the situation that Depp provoked in the legal system of my country provided a more suitable home for a tactical exchange of barbs.
In libel proceedings the parties can act more like politicians approaching the same controversies from completely different world-views. We witness such discourse all around us to today on issues like vaccination mandates.
In a criminal trial things are markedly different. This is because there is an underlying imbalance in the burden of truth for the testimonies, for while politicians tend to be dishonest for mostly the same, depressing reasons, in a criminal case the motivation for mendacity is more pronounced with the defendant, who will often do or say anything — typically via a salaried surrogate — in order to generate reasonable doubt and thus remain un-convicted.
Blatantly dishonest cases for the prosecution are rarer, usually because the accuser has to pass through several filters before the trial commences, by which time, in most countries where justice is taken seriously, it is the state that is doing the actual prosecuting, not the victim.
After my wife was abused in 2018-19 by our neighbour Jason Wade Lever she had to submit to interview by INACIF and a psychological examination. The report supported her, which is surely why it has repeatedly disappeared in part or whole from the case file prior to the audiencias.
Unlike Diego Stella, Lever has never had the decency to offer up any sort of testimony that could explain or excuse his behaviour, either the gender abuse directed against my wife or the threats of conspiracy and death against me.
"I don't accept the charges" he parrots, as if his defiance alone invalidates them and the evidence behind them, which he clearly never wants to have to respond to in a court.
And rather like Diego Ariel Stella, he appears to have very few misgivings about deploying the women around him and other family members as foot soldiers/cannon-fodder. The Argentinian's sister is fast acquiring her own set of denuncias.*
Stella's whiney testimony meanwhile is in the grips of the 'she said, he said' fallacy — the notion that guilt cannot be established on the basis of two largely incompatible verbal accounts of events.
The judge will have a pair of possible interpretations available to him. That both parties experienced the same events in such a differentially-subjective fashion that neither could be said to have fabricated their version per se. This is perhaps a less likely scenario than the alternative: that one or both are consciously lying.
In order to determine if this indeed the case, I would be looking beyond the logical consistency of the narratives on each side. Sometimes the context, and even more crucially, the interplay, is also important and can act as the tie-breaker. She said and he said are locked together in an embrace.
In Stella's case I had no real reason, beyond those inherent to the process, to substantially favour his accuser Verónica Molina Lee over him, yet there was something about his account of events that morning that rung alarm bells.
I concluded that a man who had believed from the start that the accusation was utterly false, that Molina Lee was lying simply in order to damage him — a wolf in sheep's clothing, as Projusticia GT have it ** — would have come up with a story that was different to hers in more significant ways.
Yet, as I have mentioned before, the counsel Stella has apparently received has been abject. Dividing his own social media counter-communications between one page which screams integrity (a little too loudly) and another which is essentially a more anonymised campaña negra against the victim, is both deceitful and absurd.
The basic rules of effective crisis communications would seem to apply here, like keep it simple, speak through a single voice, deliver clear and unambiguous messaging, stick to the 5 Ws (and the truth), and so on.
Very few professionals would recommend demeaning the informer(s) or the media, or even just politicising the arguments in front of the court of public opinion.
Johnny Depp and his ex were on equal footing to a large extent, but Stella is not sitting across from his lover in a debating chamber, he is in the dock.
Things he now says will be taken as evidence against him, and he runs the risk that his media outpourings stoke reprisals that further hurt him. Or indeed just stir up randomly relevant comments such as...
With friends like this...
Insinuating that his victim is obsessive and manipulative on a Facebook page which is clearly both of these things, as well as conspicuously vulgar, is not the way to convince the public, let alone a competent judge.
The judge will be making his decision within the confusing panopticon of modern gender politics. Attempting to have non-consensual sex with one's lover while she slumbers is not quite as heinous a crime as abducting, constraining and violating random women in the street. No means no does not mean that all rapes are on a par, at least as far as sentencing goes.
Yet another important consideration will necessarily come into play. Does the defendant represent a wider public risk?
On this, as well as the reported fétiches and other unhelpful comments on his FB page, Stella is on a bit of a sticky wicket, because the alleged offence occurred in a context where he had blithely renounced monogamy. The prosecution will surely reason that other women could be considered in danger.
* A fairly shallow dive into el feis reveals that the woman in Argentina claiming to have ten years of marriage to Stella behind her, appears to have a long lasting connection to certain high profile figures in La Antigua plus the bufete of Claudia Paniagua, and was apparently still quite young in pictures with them only six years ago, which makes her story seem fragile at best, and her social media presence overall contrasts somewhat with the serious 'profe' image adopted for the video. Nice gafas though.
** And it's PAY attention, you muppets.